Monday, December 15, 2008

Cookie Decorating

I dragged my boyfriend (from now on we'll just call him by his name, which is Brad) to Michael's with me the other day to pick up some last minute needs for my sugar cookie decorating. He was absentmindedly killing time in the aisles when he spied a bottle of white glitter sprinkles. Like a little kid, his eyes lit up and he said "Those would be really awesome on your cookies! You should get those." So I did.
And it completely streamlined my cookie decorating!

I'll explain. I tend to plan these really elaborate decorations for my sugar cookies. This year the game plan was snowmen with black hats, striped scarves, orange noses, and stocking cookies, decorated in a red and green plaid design. I plan the way to decorate these way in advance, and I always think they will come out as amazingly as the professional ones I find when image searching Google. I envision myself spending all day expertly and effortlessly piping decorations and impressing everyone who gets my cookie baskets...and I inevitably get frustrated after an hour, begin to thoroughly hate royal icing, and consequently scale way back on the intricacy of my designs, offering up plainer cookies or "accidentally" letting my dog get to a few.
And obviously, that happened again this year. Until I remembered the glitter sprinkles. Instead of making elaborate plaid designs on the stockings, I just covered them with my new stuff. So the cookies were easy to do, but since it was a cooler, more unusual type of sprinkle, they still looked better than a homemade piece of crap. I even scaled back the snowmen, but used sprinkles to add color to the hat and interest to the cookie's edge. So now it doesn't look so plain despite the fact that I skipped left out both the nose AND scarf.

So here's what I did:

1. Make a batch of royal icing (recipe follows).
2. Put it in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip.
3. Outline the tops of the stockings and the edges of the snowmen (stop underneath where the hat would be).
4. Press the snowmen into the white edible glitter.
5. Make a batch of glossy cookie icing (recipe follows). Fill in the snowmen and the top of the stockings. Press the stocking tops into the white edible glitter. Redip snowmen edges if need be.
6. Make a batch of glossy cookie icing and tint it red. Paint the bottoms of the stockings and sprinkle with red sanding sugar.
7. Make one last batch of very stiff black glossy cookie icing. Paint the snowmen's hats and pipe their eyes, nose, mouth, and buttons.
8. Use sprinkles to decorate the hats. (I used Christmas tree shaped ones turned sideways and little red ball sprinkles to create holly).

I use the two different types of icing because the meringue powder gives the royal icing a funny taste. So I use it only for piping or detail work.

Royal Icing:
1.5 tbsp meringue powder
3 tbsp hot water
2 cups powdered sugar.

Combine ingredients and beat with mixer until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Can be doubled, tripled, etc.

Glossy Cookie Icing
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 tbsp water
2 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients. To make stiffer icing, use more sugar and less water. To make thinner icing, add more water. Always err on the side of stiff, if icing is too watery it will run off cookie as it dries.
*To make whiter icing, substitute milk for water.
*Can also be flavored w/extracts
*If using food coloring, bear in mind that liquid coloring will dilute the icing. Paste or gel is preferable.

Enjoy your decorating!

Difficulty: 3

No comments: